How Do Energy Efficiency Measures in Residential Housing Intersect with Housing Affordability for Low-Income Families? A Case of a Private Purpose-Driven Housing Developer.

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A sustainable approach to housing development enables integrating energy efficiency into low- income housing to improve affordability while simultaneously helping to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Public policy makers, urban planners, and private and not-for-profit housing developers are pursuing several approaches to expand the supply of energy efficient affordable housing for low-income communities and households. However, households and businesses invest less in energy efficiency than what may appear economically rational, and some other energy efficiency investments do not seem economically worthwhile despite evidence suggesting it makes economic, environmental, and social sense to do so. The research attempted to understand the factors that prevent investment in energy efficiency technologies and practices in residential housing by analyzing a private housing developer's strategy implemented to maintain a balance between energy efficiency and housing affordability for low-income families. The finding indicates that integrating energy and water efficiency technologies and practices can be an opportunity and a responsibility for private housing developers. Sustainability can be a viable economic model to develop affordable energy efficient housing provided that some of the underlying hurdles associated with the housing business model are adequately considered. The inherent limitations in pricing and profitability within affordable housing, unlike a high-end market, substantially determine subsequent decisions, requirements, and resources for investment and financing. Public policy and financial incentives that help to reduce uncertainties in cost- benefit of investment in energy efficiency; provide low-income housing friendly solutions; and accommodate emerging needs, complications, opportunities, and challenges of the sector are essential to leverage private housing developers' capabilities, networks, and strategic industry- location thereby deliver energy efficient affordable housing for low-income households.

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